The race is on to get the new hubs delivering programmes and partnerships by September
A nationwide network of 122 music education ‘hubs’ has been appointed to play a key role in the provision of music education for childen. The establishment of the hubs, which will be responsible for ensuring that all children aged 5 to 18 get the chance to sing, learn a musical instrument and perform, was first announced in December last year (see AP246) following the joint publication by the DCMS and Department for Education of ‘The Importance of Music’, the first ever National Plan for Music Education.
Although the consortia who made bids to Arts Council England (ACE) for the leadership of hubs only heard last week whether they had been successful, they are now expected to be up and running by August this year, and delivering activity from September. At the outset, the Incorporated Society of Musicians warned that this timescale could lead to an ill thought through implementation process, and ACE has conceded that some applications were stronger than others. A number of hubs are having to develop their plans further in the coming months: “The Arts Council will encourage and promote on-going partnership development, and for hubs to raise the bar of aspiration, quality, and progression across all hubs…in order to make sure the quality of the experience for young people will be high.” Beyond this, all hubs will be encouraged to act as a national network, working together to improve their use of digital technology to develop content and delivery. They are also expected to be “be entrepreneurial and innovative in developing their business models”, including generating some of their own resources.
Many, but not all of the hubs are led by local authorities, and according to ACE, the strongest applications offer new approaches to partnership working and show innovative thinking in relation to their business models. Hertfordshire Music Service plans to work with Orchestras Live and the BBC Singers to deliver core music services, and also hopes to create a new centre for urban music; Greater Manchester authorities will be linking up with the Halle Orchestra, the BBC Philharmonic, the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester Camerata and Chethams School of Music; and Devon Music Service has gathered 53 partners from the arts and education sectors, covering genres including folk, world music, rock and classical. In London, three boroughs – the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster City Council and the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham – are making efficiency cost savings by joining forces to share resources, facilities, planning and delivery partners, including the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal College of Music and the Aurora Orchestra, all of which are aligning their education resources and programmes with the hub’s aims.
Alan Davey, Chief Executive of ACE, said: “After a robust application process we look forward to working with music education hubs to enhance and develop music education provision across the country… We are ideally positioned to monitor and support a national network of hubs through our regional structure, local knowledge and artform and cultural education expertise.”